Mgr. Václav Kožušník

* 1945

  • "A few days after we started playing, we did… well I was just a lighting guy at the time. But still I was actively involved. It was kind of a performance, you could say... We're with you, be with us. So at that time, there was a normal performance and after it this extraordinary one called We are with you, be with us. It was very beautiful, very smart. Of course it had a political meaning. Actually, the most important actors of Ostrava theater, such as Kratochvílová, Holub, Miller and so on, always performed a passage from some play. For example, I remember Kratochvílová had a passage from Čapek's Mother. The one with: "Are they really shooting children?" That one. Then, the Best Man, Thomas Moore. There were these kinds of, well one of these was there, and also some pictures. Of course it was all political and focused on the situation. One can't live in unfreedom."

  • "Everyone in the theater was screened, which was an exception. Even the independents, simply everyone. So I was also screened, but I was a worker. So, that whole raid of screenings at that time was against the artists. Especially against the important artists. Not against the workers. Which, if I think about it now, might have offended me. At the time, I didn't take it like that. So, the head of that screening committee, Zděnek Starý, he then became the director of the theater. When I came there, he said, 'Well,' he was on first-name terms with everybody, 'Well, Václav, here’s the thing. You know, I'm going somewhere for some kind of event, so excuse me.' He started to undress and he took another shirt and another tie. And I continued talking. And I was like, 'So in the sixty-eighth, you know, I'll admit it, I was there, really, and I was shouting at them and...' And he was like, 'But I don't care, don't even tell me that nonsense!' I felt like it was predetermined, the workers get a pass and the artists don't. Or at least some artists."

  • "We played, well now I can’t tell you who wrote it. The Tsar, well, he was there after Ivan the Terrible, it doesn't matter. And it's a Russian play. A wonderful play. A wonderful play. A wonderful play. Excellent stage set, there was a ring on the stage, a three-meter crown. The play actually ended with the crown crushing him. Clever ideas, nothing to do with the occupation. But we... I mean, we... I think it was the boss or someone. When the play was over, the Iron Curtain went down. Nobody was thanking anyone. Nothing. A protest. Well, we're playing a Russian play."

  • Full recordings
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    Olomouc, 09.10.2020

    duration: 02:19:41
    media recorded in project Stories of the region - Central Moravia
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There’s no life without culture

Václav Kožušník worked as a lighting electrician
Václav Kožušník worked as a lighting electrician
photo: Contemporary witness's archive

Václav Kožušník was born on April 3, 1945 in Prague into the family of Oldřich Kožušník, who was a theater actor. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Ostrava. As a five-year-old boy, he spent a lot of time in the theater backstage. After finishing elementary school he decided to join his life with the theater even professionally. He was apprenticed as an electrician focusing on stage equipment. He spent his entire life in the theater, including the dramatic milestones in the modern history of Czechoslovakia. When Soviet tanks arrived in Ostrava in August 1968, he took part in a protest, during which actors wrote anti-occupation slogans in chalk on the theater building. After the tragic death of Jan Palach, he stole a piece of black velvet from the auditorium and hung it on the roof of the theater. During the 1970s he completed his high school and university education, which allowed him to be promoted to higher positions within the theater. He worked as deputy director of the Silesian Theatre in Opava and he also held the same post at the Oldřich Stibor State Theatre in Olomouc. In the 1980s he was offered a position at the State Theatre in Brno, where he also worked through the theater strike during the Velvet Revolution. In 1990 he took part in an audition for the directorship of the Silesian Theatre in Opava, which he won, and remained in the position for four years. Two years later he became the director of the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, where he worked for fourteen years. With his wife Marcela he had three children, Klára, Markéta and Petr.